Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Musical Dopeness

In trying to bring you a more enjoyable interneting experience Hip Hapa added a music player this last weekend. After some trial and error I think we got the winning formula down, however, we would like your input.

The Survey:

1. Do you enjoy the music you hear on Hip Hapa?

2. Does it bother you that the music automatically starts when the page opens?

3. Do you like the music shuffled or in the pre-arranged order that we chose it?

4. Is the music player going to get you in deep sh*t trouble with your boss at work?

5. Even though its a bit crunched, do you prefer the player on the sidebar?

6. Is the music player fairly simple for you all to use?

7. Any requests for songs.

Your feed back is much appreciated!

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I miss Chicago summers. Sure, they're hot and they're ridiculously humid, but at least that helps you tell the difference between the seasons. And there's always something going on; people outside during the day enjoying the sun, the street fairs, and the good mood, and then at night the party starts.

So, as we cruise on out of this here APA heritage month and into June, here are a handful of things happening in the community that should keep your summer lively. I'm with you in spirit.


Perspectives II
Music for Soloist and Ensembles, presented by Asian Improv aRts Midwest, featuring Chicago saxophonist/composer Jeff Chan, with saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, bassist Tatsu Aoki, and special guest Dohee Lee performing on Korean percussion.
Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2
9pm both nights
Elastic Arts Foundation, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60618

Stir-Friday Night! Benefit Bash
Using comedy as a tool, Stir-Friday Night! attempts to dispel stereotypes and bridge understanding among the various social, racial and intergenerational groups within the community.
Saturday, June 2
7pm - Midnight
Between, 1324 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60622
$40 in advance, $50 at the door


Japan America Society of Chicago Meishi Exchange Social
Network with engaging individuals, enjoy delicious tapas, and mingle in a vibrant atmosphere. Come make valuable contacts, grow social capital, and build your network base.
Thursday, June 7
6:30pm - 9pm
La Tasca Tapas Restaurant, 25 W. Davis
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
$25 Members, $35 Non-Members

Second Moon: A Neo-Yakuza Romantic Farce
Saturday, June 9, and Tuesday, June 12
8pm both nights
The Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State
Chicago, IL 60601


Asian American Institute's Impact Fellows Program
Impact Fellows Program is a 6-week summer internship program that develops emerging leaders by providing young adults, ages 17-24, with practical leadership skills and the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in Asian American and Pacific Islander community-based organizations.
Applications due June 11 (early decision) or June 13 (final deadline)
Stipend available

Writing and performance workshop for Asian/Pacific Islander American youth, ages 13-19; hosted by the JACL Chicago Youth Committee
June 16 - August 11
Saturdays from 11am-2pm
JACL Chicago office, 5415 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60640


White Sox Baseball!!!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Billion-Dollar-A-Week Kill-Brown-People Habit

Do you remember the woman who sat out on Bush's Texas doorstep a couple years ago, waiting to talk to him after her son was killed in Iraq serving a military tour? Her name is Cindy Sheehan, and today she gave up her quest for peace which started with that personal protest. According to the AP, she made a lot of sacrifices and took a lot of heat along the way, and the sad thing is, while heroic, her efforts seem to have had little tangible effect.

I've been wondering why there hasn't appeared to have been a real strong activist resistance to this awful war, and why the protests waged have seemed to make such a minor difference. Compared to all the images you see from the Vietnam era, things seem pretty quiet these days. Maybe that's just the lens of history magnifying controversy, and a few decades from now we'll be seeing Sheehan's face in the same light. Or maybe I'm not looking hard enough, or maybe the press isn't doing a good enough job showcasing the activists, or maybe there's just too much shit happening in the world today for any one thing to stand out.

Whatever the reason, I keep coming back to the notion that most of us are too comfortable to do anything. There's no draft to worry about, and unless your son just got carted out of Baghdad in a body bag, maybe you're not thinking about this stuff as much as you could. Or should.

Anyway, I saw this posted up at Rhymesayers Entertainment yesterday, and it seems relevant to me. Not the happiest of videos, but these aren't the happiest of times.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Today's About More Than Just a BBQ



Friday, May 25, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

And for our final APA Heritage month -inspired Friday Groove, we bring to you Hip Hapa's favorite Hapa MCee, and my personal "American Idol"...
Lyrics Born - I Changed My Mind

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

America Loves All Things Biracial

This is sort of embarrassing to post on, but our site got a minor boost in hits yesterday off of similar fodder, so here goes.

For the second straight day, a mixed-race person won a contest on a dumb reality television show. This time it was Jordin Sparks taking the crown of "American Idol". Here are the obligatory photos:

Sparks' reaction to being announced as the winner.

A happy family moment with mom Jodi and dad Phillippi
(who used to play football with the New York Giants, for you NFL fans out there).

I personally think mixed-race celebrity gawking is a tired racket, often reduced to silly assertions of how awesome multiracial people are, or off-base speculation about the future of race as a concept. Nonetheless, I do think it is sort of interesting that Ohno and Sparks drew the limelight back-to-back like this, and while I can come up with a lot more important things for us to focus on, I believe it's worth taking a moment to contemplate if this occurrence has some underlying meaning or hidden value.

I don't have my own answer off hand, but I do hope this trend helps us predict the winner of America's next big popularity contest!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hapa Olympian Rocks the Dancefloor

I didn't watch any of "Dancing with the Stars" this season, and had only a dim awareness of who was competing. While I think ballroom dancing is pretty cool, I also happen to think C-List celebrity reality television is pretty not cool, so I can't get too excited about this. But I guess we need to give Apolo Anton Ohno his due.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and partner Julianne Hough out-boogied the chubby dude from 'N Sync and GOAT's daughter to take the "Dancing with the Stars" title.

Smooth with the ladies...

Working the helicopter?

I don't know how I feel about this, to tell the truth. I hope the guy puts his soaring Q rating to good use--more along the lines of Yul Kwon and less in the model of circus act Billy Hung. Reality TV fallout can be a nasty thing.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still Mixing It up with the Martial Arts

Normally, I'd try and avoid posting from the same source on consecutive days (especially on ground we've covered before) but I know this item about hapa Johnnie Morton from today's New York Times will get my collaborator all pumped up:

Two months ago, Morton’s only experience with mixed martial arts was watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on television. He admired the fighters, mainly because they were the only athletes who seemed more fearless than football players. Morton memorized their names as if they were N.F.L. superstars.

“Some people want to bungee jump,” Morton said. “Others want to jump out of planes. I would never do that. But I want to do this.”

The former Detroit Lions wide receiver makes his UFC debut at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles next weekend. Who's going?


Monday, May 21, 2007

Landmark Asian American Theatre Company Turns 30

Nice piece in yesterday's New York Times on the 30th anniversary of Tisa Chang's Pan Asian Repertory Theatre:

“Our mission has always been to provide meaningful professional opportunities and to introduce the Pan Asian world’s literary works to Americans in America and also to create intercultural projects that draw upon our own history,” Ms. Chang said. “We have done Cambodian genocide, Japanese internment, dislocation — basically the acmes and nadirs of Asian-Americans in America.”

Currently showing: "Tea," by hapa playwright Velina Hasu Houston. Drink up!


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

And, again, in honor of APA Heritage month we bring to you Chicago's very own...

The Pacifics - Story of My Life

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

The French Connection

Bon Jour home-boys and home-girls! Checkout DJ Mitsu and the French Pump Up The Jazz on Radio Campus Paris. Minus the annoying guy speaking in French every 10 seconds its a pretty sweet mix to groove to when you got some down time.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hip Hop For Social Justice

Hey kids: Hip Hop benefit show for United States Social Forum at the Funky Buddha Lounge in Chicago tomorrow night. Your entry fee will help send peeps from the Windy City to join the fun in Atlanta from June 27 - July 1 for "more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression. The USSF will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other's experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world."

Chicago groups participating in the USSF process include: Southside Together Organizing for Power, Hip Hop Congress, Coalition to Protect Public Housing, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Southwest Youth Collaborative, Access Living, Blocks Together, Jobs With Justice, Insight Arts, and a growing list of others.

And if that's not enough to grab the interest of you more visually-oriented folks, here's a YouTube clip:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Street Dreams Are Made of These

From the article "For S.F. rappers, another dream deferred" by Erik Arnold in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

Known as Sucka Free City in the rap world, San Francisco has no shortage of rappers or independent labels. However, its artists' close ties to the inner city--and, by extension, the tribulations of the ghetto--may be one reason it has produced a scant number of big-name acts.

Doesn't this explanation imply that rap acts who do make it big don't have close ties to the inner city? I guess those entertainers who are making millions by glorifying their own gritty histories and lifestyles must be lying, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to succeed like they have. Right?

Well, no, not entirely; I think this is more a case of flimsy logic in the excerpted article (and I'm not quoting out of context, read the rest) than of musical myth-making. But it still points to a larger problem in hip-hop, in that rappers are often expected to harbor some kind of rough-n-tumble past, serving as the legitimizing basis for their words. From the same article:

As [filmmaker Kevin] Epps explains, street credibility means everything in the rap game. With gangster rap especially, listeners want to know, "is this n---- real, where's he coming from?" When your entire persona is based on being in the streets, he says, "you can't just cut the cord" and remove yourself from the community altogether.

Emphasizing the idea that listeners crave realness and that a rapper's identity is inextricably tied to the streets further pushes the unfortunate and inaccurate idea that hip hop is mainly about being a thug. Also telling here is the use of the word persona, which defines as "the mask or façade presented to satisfy the demands of the situation or the environment and not representing the inner personality of the individual; the public personality." Sometimes, millionaire entertainers are lying.

Yet there's no doubt that the genre's roots are planted firmly in the ghetto, or that it gives expression to the experience of facing an uphill battle in oppressive, economically impoverished, and frequently violent circumstances. And it sounds like the main subject of Arnold's article--a Fillmore rapper named Messy Marv--has had a tough time escaping the trouble which has shaped his music. But I think we all need to remember that where art often reflects life, life is just as likely to turn around and try to emulate art. And when it does, we might not even be able to tell the difference.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Silent Airwaves

Thanks to the efforts of Asian American community organizations and leaders, JV & Elvis are finally gone, quietly let go by CBS Radio over the weekend for their incredible wackness. Measured relative to Don Imus, or even independently, there hasn't been a whole lot of publicity surrounding their termination--in my estimation, this should be making more noise. There are many factors to consider in pinpointing reasons for why this entire affair has been rather low-profile, and I'd be curious what explanations other people have. Let us know your take in the comments.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Night in Review

VENUE: The Mandrake - a great little bar in West L.A. It's hard to find (almost like a speak-easy) but well worth the effort. If you head there just look for the widget factory (no, really... I'm serious) - its right next store. They have attentive staff, good drinks, a chill atmosphere and a great space for DJing/ Dancing/ Art performances.

EVENT NAME: Soul Crates (Soul Sides + Captain's Crates)

DJs: O-Dub and Murphy's Law

NO. OF DRINKS CONSUMED: At least three Crown Royals on the rocks... maybe more...hmm.

MOOD: Mellow effervescence.

Only once thank goodness. (And in usual Mix fashion I'm flaking on that promise as I type. Damn those Crown Royals!)

GENERAL COMMENTS: The music was bumpin' as expected and the turn out for the event was very nice. I finally got to meet up with Mr. Oliver Wang himself (O-Dub) and talked story for a minute or two. The man's a very chill cat with excellent taste in music and I look forward to going to more of his events. Who knows, maybe Hip Hapa can collabo with the guy and promote some shows in the future too!

I also got a chance to pick up Deep Covers which I promptly played as soon as I got up this morning at noon. A really great album for a Sunday groove... nah mean? Unfortunately, I arrived too late to get my free copy of the Betty Davis album even though I did say the magic password "Shoo-B Doop and Cop Him". All in all a grand 'ol time for Mix76 and the extended Hip Hapa crew that accompanied me. Otsukare!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

And in honor of APA Heritage month we bring to you this week...

Mountain Brothers - Galaxies

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Diggin' in the Cybercrates: Internet Samples

On the regular, Hip Hapa hooks you into the sites and sounds of the virtual world, offering up samples to help you make the perfect mix of your netsurfing. If you find a gem that needs inclusion, let us know and we'll post it.

Two things I thought were worth mentioning today:

1. Our friend over at Soul Sides Audioblog will be in L.A. on Friday spinning some of that good stuff he always writes about. If you are in the West L.A. area (or even if you're not) head on down to the Mandrake about 9:30 PM.

2. For some amusing hip hop blogs go to Hip Hop DX. There you can comment on such topics as 2pac is the most overrated rapper of all time and New York Rap Sucks! (written by a guy who looks like Ashy Larry from the Dave Chapelle Show). And for the record, Hip Hapa does not necessarily endorse the content of these posts ... I just think the blogs and the comments that follow are funny sh*t man!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cyber Graf?

From this week's New Yorker:

"The graffitist's impulse is akin to a blogger's: write some stuff, quickly, which people may or may not read. Both mediums demands wit and nimbleness. They arouse many of the same fears about the lowering of the public discourse and the taking of undeserved liberties."
Thought it deserved quoting here. It comes from a profile on the British graffiti artist Banksy (the featured work was done on a security fence in the West Bank).


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

From Sissies to Psychos

So we haven't yet given any attention to Seung-Hui Cho or Virginia Tech on this site; personally, that's been for lack of anything original to say about the issues, and because I feel a little uncomfortable commenting on what wider significance this horrible event might bear.

Thankfully, folks like Jeff Yang are out there to provide some thoughtful analysis, like he did in Angry Asian Men, an article published today by Here's the abstract:

Recent events and media coverage seem to have swung the image of Asian American males away from the "meek, passive and mild" end of the spectrum and toward "violent, bloodthirsty and dangerous." What does this mean for Asian American pop culturalists -- and what, if any, responsibility do creators have for depicting the community from which they come?

Give it a read--it's worth your time.

Thanks to Matt Harpring for passing this along.


Monday, May 07, 2007

In the Cradle of Cinema

I'd meant to give some publicity to this before it started, but of course it slipped my mind and is now halfway over. Story of my life. In any case... the Visual Communications Filmfest (or as the subhead clarifies, The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival) still has four more days left. Looks like most of the high-profile events went down this weekend, including seminars with Dustin Nguyen, Justin Lin, and Wayne Wang, as well as a tribute to the late Mako. Nonetheless, there's still plenty of features to be screened this week, so head on over and check it out.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

The Friday Groove

As always, Hip Hapa likes to drop the jazzy rhythms on you to kick your weekend off right.

Here's an old school East Coast joint for y'all to vibe on this weekend.
Group Home - Superstar

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

On and Crackin'!

As always, Hip Hapa is proud to bring to our readers' attention the newest and hottest artists on the scene today...

First up is a reminder that our tomodachi Pesu will be holding it down tomorrow on MTV. Be sure to watch, support and VOTE as Pesu steps out onto the national stage to show off the talent we been knowin' about for years! Gambatte yo!

And for those of you in need of some of that classic Southern California sound checkout Vers Brown's new mixtape Fresh Air: Vol. 1.

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More on APA Heritage Month

We offered up some musings on this here APA Heritage month when it kicked off two days ago, and we will continue to delve into the issues and activities that are connected to the event as it unfolds. Today we direct you over to this collection of "features, links, news, activities for kids, historical interest, books, and more" on the subject at's Asian American Village. There's a lot of good stuff there to get you in the spirit of things, so please take a few minutes to check it out.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Art from a Multiracial Perspective

Hip Hapa has been informed that this is something our readers might like to know about:

Join Kearny Street Workshop and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center for the opening reception of a new visual exhibition, Post ID: identity-infused art for a post-identity world. Featuring work by artists Jenifer Wofford, Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Nancy Mizuno Elliott, Richard Godinez, and Sita Bhaumik, this new exhibition explores the nature of identity and hybridity in a range of media and genres, and from multiple multiracial perspectives. In a world that often seems to wish itself to be "beyond race," Post ID invites you to consider the more complicated and intriguing realities. This exhibit runs May 3-26, 2007, at SomArts Cultural Center.

Opening reception: Thursday, May 3, 2007, 5-8pm
Location: SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 2-7pm; Saturdays 1-5pm

For more details, contact Kearny Street Workshop at info(AT)kearnystreet(DOT)org or 415.503.0520, or APICC at info(AT)apiculturalcenter(DOT)org or 415.864.4120.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Reflection on 'Our Month'

This post should probably be about immigration rallies. But in addition to being the right occasion for such demonstrations, today is the start of APA Heritage Month, and I thought we ought to acknowledge that fact on this site. So I'm recycling an article I wrote on the subject--partially out of laziness, and partially because I doubt anybody read it when it first got published (in a community newsletter). The only other context I think I need to provide is that it dates back to June of 2004...

As you might already know, May was Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Perhaps you even attended an event meant to celebrate this fact. There were plenty you could have chosen from, sponsored by various community organizations, area universities and government offices. And even if you missed out on the festivities, I bet you nonetheless appreciate the widespread effort that was made to honor our legacy.

I for one certainly appreciate it, but in all honesty, I have mixed feelings about the matter. Recognizing the richness of APA history, culture and achievement is vitally important, but reserving a specific period of time for this purpose strikes me as a little odd. It makes me feel just the slightest bit uncomfortable, having our experience squeezed into this assigned space on the calendar like the way in which our history is relegated to the sidebars of social studies textbooks. I mean, APAs are APAs year-round; we don’t just put on our Asian-ness when we feel like it. Yet here we are being asked to parade our kimonos out into the spotlight for a moment before being ushered off to make way for the next token celebration of an underrepresented group. “Hey, those Asian folks were swell, huh? I wonder who’s up for June?”

But I guess I shouldn’t complain. I mean, with 365 days in a year, getting the 31 in May means we have over 8% of the nation’s time—that’s double the percentage of our proportion of the population! I’m sure glad we didn’t get February… Black people must feel pretty sore about having their history jammed into just 28 days.

Okay, I’m being overly cynical, and perhaps sarcasm isn’t the best way to approach such a weighty issue. Because we do have to honestly and seriously consider what we can reasonably demand or expect from this country, considering we make up such a small part of it. It’s difficult to determine how big a slice of the national pie we deserve; there’s no formula for figuring out to what extent a minority group’s showing in the census, along with consideration of the particular disadvantages it faces, entitle it to representation, recognition and resources. If there were such a formula, questions about affirmative action, federal funding and public policy wouldn’t be so hard to answer, or so vigorously disputed.

I am resigned to the fact that there is no easy way to sort all of this out. However, I can tell you that, regardless of what is officially sanctioned as our time, APA heritage can and should be honored at all times. We should be grateful that the powers that be have given us May, but we need to remain diligent in ensuring that we stay visible and active as a community for every month of the year. This means supporting APAs in their political, educational, professional and artistic endeavors. It means doing what we can to quash ignorance and injustice, and helping the nation understand the character and concerns of Asian Pacific Americans as fully as possible. Let’s show thanks for being granted our month by pushing it beyond the confines of the calendar.